The Redneck Housewives of Lancaster County

Since I had my latest round of back surgery, I’ve been watching more tv than I used to.  I am now addicted to a show called, “The Real Housewives of Orange County”.  I guess I like it because it would be the exact opposite of my life.

It got me to thinking though, I should be on a reality tv show called “The Redneck Housewives of Lancaster County”.  Here is my pitch to any network TV executives who read my blog…

The characters…

Me, the goat farmer.  They could follow me around as I pop pain pills and run the farm.  Half stoned all the time, I get the work done.  Cleaning, laundry, dishes, cooking, milking, playing mid-wife to goats at 4am, and bottle feeding babies.  I own 4 pairs of shoes total; muck boots covered in manure, cowboy boots when I want to dress up, sneakers, and Dollar Store flip-flops in the summer.  I don’t own a dress and all of my clothes are stained and in need of repair.  I mostly smell bad as I am usually covered in either birthing fluids & blood or manure & sour milk.  My two kids still at home fight constantly.  They could do a entire show on me standing in the barn screaming cuss words at my kids while milking goats as Mike and Kate roll around on the barn floor fist fighting.  They would have to get another teenage girl to translate for Katie though.  She speaks softly, fast, and mumbles too that most of the time no one has any freaking clue as to what she is saying.  They would also have to bleep out most of what Mike says since he has discovered cuss words when Mom’s not in ear shot.  Vince would be an interesting character as well.  They could do close up shots of him getting out of the car after a long business trip.  As he brings in his laptop, briefcase, and dirty laundry he gets the list of broken items that need fixed or opens up the $700 electric bill, begins to get angry, and flips out.  He hollers and then gets so mad he forgets to swallow.  Kind of looks like a rabid dog foaming at the mouth while spraying you with a gallon of saliva with every word that comes flying out of his mouth.  We spend Friday nights disbudding and tattooing baby goats.  Isn’t that what everyone else does on a Friday night?  Or perhaps an episode of me, my kids, and my three older nephews running around trying to catch the pigs that got out of their pen.  Covered in pig manure, sweat, and smelling bad, we get them all back in the pen and then thinking those pigs are going to taste real good sooner than later if they do this again…”Load em up boys, it’s butchering time and I’m hungry for fresh bacon”!

My sister Lori…She could play the part of the greasy mechanic’s wife.  My brother in-law, God Bless him, works harder than most people.  He puts in 20 hour days on a regular basis to feed the huge family living in his house.  They have 5 kids, my other sister Kim and her baby, her other two kids on the weekends, and their oldest daughter, Amanda, her husband, baby (with one on the way) who live in the apartment in the basement.  They could do a show on Lori cleaning the house and bagging trash.  Then sneaking the trash to the dumpster without her husband knowing because he is a hoarder.  Yes, she really sneaks trash to the dumpster.  And yes, if John notices it, he brings it back in.  She could give lessons on stretching the almighty dollar to feed that huge family.  She has given up on keeping a spotless house and finding a place where she can go and hide to be alone for 5 minutes.  To be honest, I’m in awe of her.  If I was in her shoes, I would be drunk all the time.

Lets see, who else could be in the show.  I know, my Mom.  She is thin, small, and most people aren’t intimidated by her size.  They could do an episode of her in my kitchen telling my other sister Ann and I how to cook the holiday dinner even though we’ve cooked the holiday dinner for the last 10 years.  She hangs over your shoulder, barking orders, and telling us what we have to do next.  Then one of the Grandkids come into the kitchen asking a dumb question and that sets he off.  Next thing you know, she chews someone out up one side and down the other while Ann and I hide the frying pans so she doesn’t whack them up side the head with it.  Wait a minute…I had a flash from my childhood…ok, it’s gone now.  (To be fair and honest here…My Mom is an excellent cook, is usually right, but does have a mean left hook with a frying pan 🙂  I do love her and she would do anything for me.  I’m not trading her in for a new Mom and you can’t have her either!)

My sister Ann…She could be the “shock” effect here.  She is a single mother of three children.  She willingly goes to Hollister to buy them clothes (I shop at Wal-mart or the Goodwill Store).  She would be the only one who works outside of the home as an Executive Secretary for the PA State Treasurer.  She has a closet full of dresses and high heal shoes but there is still the Redneck girl in her.  You know what they say…you can take the girl out of the country but you can’t take the redneck out of the girl.  Piss her off and you’ll quickly realize the apple doesn’t fall from the tree.

My sister Michelle…Cleaning is a dirty word to her.  I remember all but having to beat her with a tire iron when we were little to do her fair share of chores.  She is an excellent Mom and is totally in love with her husband who loves to collect Star Wars figures and the alike.  The love going to Star Wars conventions and have an entire room dedicated to all the “collectibles” of Star Wars figures and such.  From the first day I met her husband, Terry, I said he was a male version of Michelle.  They were made for each other.  They could do an episode of Terry, her, and the baby getting ready for another convention.  To be honest…this is a love story here and I don’t know anyone else who is happier with their life.  So I guess the clean and neatly kept house doesn’t really matter.  She probably is smarter than the rest of us.

They could do an episode of a holiday dinner or perhaps a family wedding.  Someone is bound to get too drunk and bring up politics and religion.  We are passionate Republicans while my Dad is a passionate Democrat.  My Step-Mother has banned politic talk as it quickly leads to screaming, hollering, doors slamming, and half the family not speaking to the other half for the next 6 months or something.  Our religion preferences range from Born Again and Mennonite to Roman Catholic and non-practicing Christians.  We live in trailers to old homes built in the 1700’s.  We drive beat up pick-up trucks and mini-vans.  Our children learn how to run a tractor and skid loader before they learn how to drive vehicles.  We can feed a family until they are stuffed spending only $10 at the McDonald’s drive thru by ordering off of the dollar menu.  We love 4-wheelers & snowmobiles.  We swim in the creek instead of swimming pools.  Farting and burping contests are common games played at family renions.  Some of us go to church faithfully and some don’t.  Most of us are “poor” fiancially and none of us are rich. 

Yep, I’m a Redneck and come from a family of Rednecks.  There are a lot of differences between us but the common thread is this…we all love God and we all love each other.  We are close and tight nit.  My family is here for me when I need them, no matter what.  To the gals from Real Housewives of Orange County we might be dirt poor but to us we are richer than most.  Why?  Because we have each other.  This is my crazy family and crazy life that I wouldn’t trade for a new one (ok, most of the time anyway).

What do you all think?  Sound like a good reality TV show or what?

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The latest happenings…

I’ve had almost 40 babies born in the past couple of weeks while dealing with two winter blizzards less than a week apart.  Everytime I turned around I was running to the barn to deliver babies and another foot of snow was on the ground.  Vince of course was in New England.  There were times I just wanted to cry but I stomped my feet, said a few curse words, apologized to God for letting it get the best of me, and plugged away again.  Come on, every 39 year old turning 40 in a couple of months deserves to have temper tantrum once in awhile right?

I kept thinking to myself, didn’t we leave the mountains and head south so the winters were less snowy and less cold?  Seems it followed us south.  Wellsboro actually got less snow than we did here.  Global warming or Murphy’s Law?  Perhaps a little of both.

Anyway, kidding season is in full swing.  I have about a weeks break before another set of does kicks off again.  I’m taking this break to catch up on sleep, cleaning, and laundry.  Although I can’t seem to get caught up on anything lately.

I have a few doelings and bucklings for sale this year.  It’s time to cut the numbers again to keep things more managable.  Vince is traveling a lot more it seems so without his help the work load falls on me and my aching back.  I made him buy me a new boxspring and mattress to help that aching back.  It was time as the old one was 16 years old and was done about 6 years ago.  I wouldn’t let him go cheap either.  I think after 4 back surgeries and all the metal I have in my back, I deserve a good night’s rest in a good bed.  Trouble is, it feels so good, I don’t want to get out of it.  By the way, those sleep number beds are great, costly, and popular but they don’t hold up.  My Mom has one.  She wasn’t able to adjust the numbers anymore as soon as it was out of warranty…figures right?

Along with all the snow we got, the kids (the human kind that is) decided to do a lot of snowmobiling.  One night Katie jumped on the snowmobile and started it up.  The throttle was stuck, it took off like a bat out of hell and slammed into the side of my truck.  Damaged the truck and the snowmobile.    Vince was screaming and yelling not so nice words.  Katie ran for cover and I stood in the house looking out the window laughing (so that Vince couldn’t see or hear me).  If someone would have videotaped it, I could have sent it into America’s Funniest Home Videos and been $10,000 richer.  Anyway, my truck now matches my livingroom furniture…the same livingroom furniture that was used as a chew toy when the dogs were puppies.  What can I say?  I’ll wait to have nice things once the kids and pets are gone.

Of course the snow also damaged the barn roof some more.  All the skylights broke under the weight of the snow.  One more thing to add to the list of broken and damaged stuff around here.  I swear the goats stand there and look at me thinking…Uh, HELLO, WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO FIX THIS PROBLEM?  Sorry girls, I’m trying.  The repair list is long while the funds are short.

My parents’ were in Florida for the last blizzard.  I talked to my Dad on the morning we were being blasted.  He was walking on the beach and it was sunny.  I told them I was no longer speaking to them.  To make amends, they purchased me an early birthday present.  The t-shirt that reads, “Don’t me with me!  I raised a Marine”!  Perfect shirt for me my middle son says because I am known as the Drill Instructor here.  Yeah, he doesn’t have a clue.  But I will admit, I love my shirt.  Perhaps I’ll wear it to the next ADGA show so all those grumpy goat breeders who love to dabble in nasty rumors and goat politics will stay clear of me. 

Yes, you can probably tell, I’m in a mood.  I hate politics and I suck at them.  Trouble is, I just say what’s on my mind but most times people can stand it when you are that down right honest with them.  I get it from my Mother…blame her.  She might not have given me the skinny gene and the perfect skin gene (that she gave my sister Ann of course) but she did give me that fiesty red headed attitude that either gets me noticed or gets me into trouble. 

Ok, off to make the family dinner.  If you are bored and work for food, feel free to stop by the farm.  You can milk, feed babies, trim hooves, clean pens, shovel snow, do laundry, clean the house, or cook.  I’m not picky…you choose.

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2010 Pa State Farm Show & Kidding Season Kicks Off

A lot has happened since I last posted.  Our Pa State Farm Show was an unbelievable experience.  The next couple of days afterwards were tough.

First the good news…Youth Dairy Goat Show and Open Dairy Goat Show

Katie won Grand Champion Nubian Dairy Goat, Best of Breed and Champion Challenge with her doe (and one of my favorites) Ziggy Acres TXE Shamrock.  She also placed 1st or 2nd in all of her other Nubian classes.  The Pa Cable Network was there taping the show which was pretty neat since they taped Mike’s big win last year with his Saanen doe Bada Bing Farm Holly.

Ziggy Acres TXE Shamrock

Mike won not only Jr. Reserve Grand Champion Saanen Doe (Bada Bing Farm Holly) but Reserve Grand Champion Saanen doe (Bada Bing Farm Lillian), Grand Champion Saanen Doe (OHF CPP Mada aka Maudie Moo), Champion Challenge Saanen Doe, Best of Breed Saanen Doe, but the highest of all…Best Doe In Show!  Yep, Maudie Moo won the whole kit and kaboodle.  Every doe he exhibited won.  You just can’t get any better than that!

Maudie MooBada Bing Farm Lillian

Mike was on cloud nine as several newspapers and TV stations interviewed him and took his picture with his Champion Maude.  We weren’t even back to earth when the next day we started to exhibit in the Open Dairy Goat Show.

Katie was up first and of course the Nubian classes were packed.  She showed Shamrock in a class of 12 other goats.  After winning her class, Shamrock went on to take Reserve Grand Champion Nubian Doe and win another leg towards her permanent champion status.  I was so proud of her as she did an excellent job against some tough competition.

Ziggy Acres TXE Shamrock

Next was Mike and he was nervous as can be because again the competition was tough.  Bada Bing Farm Holly won Jr. Reserve Grand Champion.  Bada Bing Farm Lillian won her class but that was it.  But…our Maudie Moo won it all AGAIN!  She took Grand Champion Saanen Doe, Champion Challenge Saanen Doe and BEST OF BREED!  She won her first champion leg and I have to admit, this was the first time we showed her in an ADGA show.

OHF CPP Mada aka Maudie Moo

When Mike went out for Best Doe in Show he had no expectations of winning it yet again.  As the judge discussed all the Best of Breed does, he said it came down to our Maude and the Toggenburg exhibited by Ann Weikel.  My heart was in my throat, I broke into a cold sweat, and I think I stopped breathing at one point.  I couldn’t believe Mike looked so calm.  The Togg won by an inch but the judge said it was close.  We were thrilled anyway.

After coming home with a pile of ribbons and plaques (I had won two tiny little blue ribbons for my goat milk soap), I told the kids how extremely proud I was of them.  It was nice to see them go from standing in 10th place 3 years ago to winning Best of Breed and Best Doe in Youth Show this year.  Our goal is to always improve and do better by learning from your mistakes.  Sometimes luck has a little to do with it to but the kids definately deserved it.  Especially since my back surgery, Mike and Katie have been basically running the farm on their own doing all the hard work that comes with running a dairy.  It made the wins especially sweet for them.

Less than a week after we were home, kidding season kicked off.  Our nubian doe Violet gave us triplet doelings!  The next morning Katie’s favorite doe Francessca went into labor.  After 7 hours of her pushing and Katie and I trying to pull the now dead kid out, we had to put her down.  I did a c-section on her hoping there was another viable kid behind the stuck one but unfortunately all were lost.  I felt so incrediably bad for Katie as she just adored Francessca.  She was so excited for her to have her babies because she was hoping for spotted babies like Francessca.  I always feel like I have failed when this is the outcome of a bad situation.  Even the vet said I did everything I could but my mind always goes over and over it again telling me I should of or could of done something else.

Francessca as a doeling

Katie came in the house and cuddled with the three little doelings that were born the day before.  Sometimes snuggling with a newborn baby goat can cure what ails your heart.  Unfortunately the next day we lost the smallest of the three doelings.  I noticed her having labored breathing the night before but didn’t say anything to anyone as I didn’t want to add insult to injury after losing Francessca.  By noon time she was truly suffering so I gave her meds to go to sleep.  I held her in my arms until she passed.  She was only a little over 24 hours old but somehow had my heart.  I don’t think any goat has ever passed away on my farm without me shedding a few tears.

I have lots of does due to kid any day now.  I am praying everything goes much easier and without shedding anymore tears.  Although farm life can be so rewarding, it can also just truly down right suck sometimes as well.

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